December 10, 2021

Biden Sides with Russia in Territorial Dispute

  • Executive

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief: 
According to an Associated Press report, the Biden administration has advised the Ukrainian government to cede part of its eastern territory to Ukraine. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied that claim, but it seems that President Biden is still taking a soft approach to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Biden threatened Putin with an “economic” response only to the country amassing troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

The Background: 
The eastern Donbas region in Ukraine was the center of a 2014 Russia-backed uprising by separatists that want to disconnect from the Ukrainian government. That territory is still controlled by separatist forces. On December 3rd, Ukraine’s parliament gave the Donbas region “special status” for another year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been amassing troops on Ukraine’s eastern border for weeks now.

In a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Biden met with Putin and threatened an economic response only and said that deploying troops to Ukraine is off the table. 

“We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article 5, it’s a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to NATO – I mean to Ukraine. But it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well. But the idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not on, in the cards right now,” Biden said.

Many Republicans have blasted the President’s stance towards Russia as “weak” and “embarrassing”. 

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse called it a “Speak loudly and carry a small stick” plan.

Biden threatened to resume Trump’s sanction on the NordStream2 oil pipeline from Russia to Ukraine. The pipeline is now almost complete. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said that was “weak and embarrassing” because “[Biden] already handed Putin exactly what he wanted.”

Notable Quotes: 

“Biden has given Putin the upper hand at almost every turn: letting Russia dictate reciprocal diplomatic representation, waiving sanctions on NordStream 2, and turning the page from Paul Whelan and Alexei Navalny’s unjust imprisonment.” - Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)

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